Singapore to Approve COVID-19 Digital Travel Pass

Could this be a positive step forward to revive the tourism industry and the economy?

Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport (photo by Shawn Ang)

According to Singapore’s aviation regulator, from May 2021, Singapore will become the first country to accept visitors who present a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.

For pre-departure checks, Singapore will approve the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mobile travel pass, which allows travelers to obtain clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by displaying a smartphone application containing their data from approved laboratories.

Singapore Airlines successfully tested the pass. There are over 20 airlines, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Malaysia Airlines that are testing the pass.

In a statement, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said, “The success of our joint efforts will make IATA’s relationship with the government of Singapore a model for others to emulate.”

Asia’s corporate capital Singapore, which has seen a low number of coronavirus cases this year, has been a pioneer in developing and applying technologies during the pandemic, and aims to be one of the first countries to reopen to visitors and host international events.

Airlines are hoping that more countries will accept digital passes, allowing travel to resume faster and avoiding delays and problems at airports where multiple document checks are needed.

At present, in order to fly to Singapore, travellers from most countries must take pre-departure COVID-19 swab tests within 72 hours of their flights, with results presented at airport check-in and on arrival.